As the NFL patiently awaits an anticipated Carson Wentz trade, the Philadelphia Eagles are soon expected to part ways with another franchise icon. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz is "bracing for a change of scenery via trade or release," perhaps even as part of a package deal involving Wentz. The 30-year-old Ertz gave a tearful address to Philly media at the end of the 2020 season, admitting then that he wasn't sure of his future with the team. It now appears he was, in fact, issuing an early farewell.
Ertz has long been a speculated 2021 salary cap casualty, entering the final year of a five-year, $42.5 million extension signed in 2016. In fact, the Eagles reportedly attempted to trade the former Super Bowl champion ahead of the 2020 in-season deadline, but the tight end's high-ankle sprain, which sidelined him for more than a month, prevented the club from striking a deal. It's unclear what Ertz's trade value would even be entering his age-30 campaign, but the Eagles, who are expected to kick off a major rebuild under a new staff, would save at least $4.7 million in a cap-strapped 2021 by cutting or dealing him.
Prior to 2020, Ertz unsuccessfully campaigned for a new deal with the Eagles, who figure to proceed with No. 2 Dallas Goedert as their primary tight end. A second-round pick of the team back in 2013, Ertz has endured several serious injuries over the course of his career, suffering a lacerated kidney in 2019 and missing a career-high five games in 2020. When healthy, however, he's been one of the NFL's most productive at his position. The Stanford product went five straight seasons, from 2014-2019, with at least 75 catches and 800 receiving yards, posting a career-best 116 receptions for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns in 2018.